In recent times, the IoT has been on the rise. Various underlying protocols are being worked on to foster their usage. This leaves many confused on which protocol to go with, which technology will be sufficient for their needs, and which could be the best options. In this article, we will consider two low-energy wireless communication technology - The BLE and The LoRaWAN. Both of which are becoming increasingly popular in the marketplace. And in the end, we will draw out which is better and when.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) was introduced as part of Bluetooth 4.0 spec in 2010, focusing mainly on IoT applications. It is a short-range personal area network primarily used to transmit data with a low data rate. The main focus of the Bluetooth LE was low energy expenditure. BLE devices operate on a coin-sized cell and provide standby power-saving mode, making it highly energy efficient. It covers a range of over 100m in the rural area and approx 15m-30m in an urban area with a data transmission rate of up to 1mbps. It uses the 128 bit AES encryption, a symmetric key algorithm meaning that the same key is used to encrypt and decrypt the data on both sides. However, the privacy of BLE connection also depends on several other factors such as the device's i/o in question, presence of any other out of band channel for communication, as more.
BLE is probably the most extensively used technique for data transmission over a personal area with very low power expense. Bluetooth Low Energy is perfectly suited are sports and fitness, security and proximity, sensing, home entertainment, and health and wellness.
Lora (Long Range Radio) alliance was founded in 2015 in co-ordinance with more than 500 companies; based on LoRa radio(modulation) technology and the networking protocol used for data transmission here is known as LoRaWAN. It uses sub gigahertz band for signaling, which provides a long-range coverage of up to 15km and offers low traffic as most of the underlying technologies do not use this band for data transmission. The data rate in LoRaWAN depends on many factors, such as the spreading factor, coding rate, and bandwidth. Lora embedded end nodes (end devices) operate on a battery that can max up to 3-5 years of life. LoRaWAN utilizes two layers of security, basically one for the network and one for the application. The network security ensures the node's authenticity in the network, while the application layer of protection ensures the network operator does not have access to the end user's application data.
LoRaWAN is an open global standard and can be used to get real-time data from objects worldwide and track asset locations in ways never thought possible. Using LoRaWAN connected sensors, a company can quickly obtain the insights they need to automate processes and improve efficiencies.
So, as seen, both LoRaWAN and Bluetooth have been significant boons, especially for IoT device interaction. Both of these technologies are power efficient and deliver low-cost maintenance. However, which protocol is more efficient than the other depends majorly on the application. LoRaWAN would be preferred for innovative censoring technology, highly efficient for tracking and transportation, home automation, and many more. At the same time, BLE is the first go-to station for short-range data transmission because it is highly user-friendly. It has extensive uses for wearable or proximity gadgets in the healthcare, fitness, and medical industry. BLE was designed especially for short-distance communication at low energy expense and LoRaWAN chiefly for long-range networking with minor power consumption.